Anna’s Healing and Project Linus
Wow! Anna’s Healing is shipping to a store near you and will be available everywhere by October 1. I’m pretty excited. But I’m even more excited to tell you about Project Linus, which greatly influenced the writing of this book. One of the PL coordinators, graciously offered to answer a few questions for me. Thank you, Melissa E. Later this month, we’ll be giving away some great PL stuff, and we’ll also provide a link where you can purchase Anna’s Healing and have a portion of the proceeds go to PL. Now for our interview:
1) How long have you been a coordinator?
I have been the coordinator for almost 2 years. I started as the chapter coordinator in October 2013. During that time our chapter has donated over 4,000 blankets to local hospitals and agencies! Whew! I think that is an amazing number and speaks volumes about how generous our community is.
2) What do the duties of a coordinator entail?
This might vary by chapter, but for me the main duty is to collect the blankets and to check every one to make sure it meets the PL standards – basically no pins were left in them, the blanket doesn’t smell of smoke and the blanket is of good quality. I then have a wonderful volunteer (my Mom) who sews a PL label on all of the blankets. When I get the blankets back from her, I sort them all by size and then we deliver them to the local hospitals and agencies. We sort them according to size because we have some agencies like Nurses for Newborns that mainly need baby sized blankets and then other agencies like Hospice Advantage that primarily need blankets for older children – they run a grief support program for children who have lost a family member. There are a lot of agencies that take both such as Cardinal Glennon and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Aside from that, my duties include answering inquiries from potential volunteers via email and phone. I also organize 2 Make a Blanket Day events a year. Those are community events where people can come in to work on blankets and drop off completed blankets. I also try to keep our webpage and facebook page updated on a regular basis.
Our chapter also has drop off sites throughout St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Those are at the homes of volunteers who accept blankets and make it very convenient for people to find a drop off location that is convenient for them. When these volunteers receive donations, they thing bring those to me for distribution.
3) How did you become involved with PL?
Well, this is kind of a funny story. I have always loved to sew. Before I started quilting, I primarily did counted cross stitch. When I was getting married several years ago and we were decorating our home, my husband suggested that maybe we had enough counted cross stitch pictures for our walls. I had no intention of not continuing to sew though so I remembered that when I was in 5th grade I had made a counted cross stitch afghan for kids with either cancer or AIDS and I thought I could do that again. I basically googled charities that accept blankets and have been sewing for Project Linus ever since. I really connected with the Project Linus mission and history. My husband is a very key piece of our success. He does the majority of our deliveries – thankfully he has a very large vehicle that can hold a lot of blankets!
4) Can you give me one specific incident of helping a child that stands out for you?
Unfortunately, we do not get to give the blankets directly to the child. The nurses and caseworkers get to do that though. I do occasionally receive thank you notes though and the story of Reese really touched my heart. I am attaching a flyer that I made up for a Make a Blanket Day event (with the parents permission) that tells a little bit about her story. The picture is after her emergency trip. To add a little to that story, she did not actually receive a blanket from my chapter. We are the closest chapter to where she lives, but on the day of the accident the weather was so bad that they could not fly her in to a St. Louis hospital and had to go to Peoria instead. The Mom did something special for the hospital in Peoria and then wanted to give back to the local PL chapter.
My husband does have some favorite places that he likes to delivery blankets to though. He absolutely loves the people at the Ronald McDonald House and Nurses for Newborns. They are so grateful for the blankets!
5) How can people help/become involved with PL?
The best way to help is to make blankets. We can never have enough blankets! Unfortunately, there are always children that need comfort and to know there are people that care about them. I would suggest starting by going to the Project Linus website and finding out if there is a chapter close by. You can then email the local chapter coordinator to introduce yourself and to get on their email distribution list for updates on chapter activities and events. You can also inquire as to if the chapter has guidelines or if they have any specific needs that you can help address. For example, sometimes our chapter will need more blankets for boys or baby sized blankets instead of bigger blankets. Other than that, just make blankets!